Quilting with Children

Quilts for Thomas Ditson Elementary School

Carole's quilts

Carole writes:

"Billerica, Massachusetts is building a new elementary school, The Thomas Ditson Elementary School. Thomas Ditson is the original "Yankee Doodle" as in "Yankee Doodle went to town riding on a pony..." etc. The original school is 65 years old and is being replaced by a stunning, state of the art K-5 elementary school. I currently have one daughter going into 4th grade this September, my son will be starting Kindergarten and a I have one more daughter who still has 3 years before she starts school.

I decided I had a strong interest making this new school a wonderful place since I had three children that would be going there. Because the school is brand new, it's walls are bare and stark. It's the perfect place for unique art created by the students to give it a warmer, friendlier place.

The teachers decided on the themes for each quilt and then the children decided how they would design their quilt square. The first grade did animals, the second grade did butterflies. The third grade studied individual states so their quilt blocks depicted the state flowers and state birds. The fourth grade based their squares on ancient history and the fifth grade did American history. The kindergartens used a much loved children's book as their inspiration and painted fish on their squares and decorated each one with sequins.

Carole's quilts

Each child (524 of them) was given a 6"x6" square of white cotton fabric. The younger children colored their pictures onto paper and the art teacher ironed the design on to the fabric. The older children colored directly on the fabric. Once this was done, 6 volunteers sewed the blocks together with donated fabric, sewed on the backing fabric with the batting in between and then returned them to the students so that they could tie the quilts themselves, this allowed them to see their project through to the end. We have six gorgeous quilts averaging 90"x70".

They are absolutely wonderful. I hung them all on my laundry line and together they make a stunning collection. I cannot wait to see them hanging in the new school this fall. The teachers were so inspired that they created a quilt too! I am so pleased to have had the opportunity to have been involved in this project."

If you'd like to share your story on these pages, please email Heddi at qwc@thecraftstudio.com.

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